Police brutalize journalists in Delta - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Friday, April 5, 2024

Police brutalize journalists in Delta

Two journalists attached to the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Delta State Governor, Chief Festus Ahon were Thursday, brutalized by Police officers  attached to Ughelli A' division in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. 

It was gathered that a Senior Police officer, Ogwu Chukwutem supervised the humiliation of Comrade Andrew Unutame of the Galaxy Television, and Comrade Oghenekaro Awodeha, publisher of The Periscope with officers and Vigilantes at the premises of Ughelli A' division.

The incidence was the second time Police in Ughelli are brutalising journalists on duty for reasons best known to them.

Narrating his ordeal, Oghenekaro said, "I boarded a motorcycle, as we were on our way, the rider, sighting the police on stop and search duty, wanted to turn back and run, that he was not having papers, that he left it at home. I then encouraged him not to run, but to meet them that if he is stopped, I'll plead on his behalf, and I only said so because I was suspicious, I didn't really believe somebody will ride his motorcycle without photocopy of his particulars. 

"When the police stopped us and demanded for his particulars and the man said he is not with them, one of the officers ordered us to alight and then drove the motorcycle to the police station. At this point the rider was blaming me for allowing the police to hold him because I refused to plead for him. I then told him that if truly he has his papers at home, he should go home and bring them. That once it's established that he has his papers I'm ready to go with him to the station to assist in securing the release of his motorcycle. 

"When the man brought his papers, as promised, I called a colleague and we went to the station with him. We were then directed to a police woman identified as, Corporal Ebi who said the particulars are not authentic, that it could be forged. She asked us to bring N50,000. She now ordered us to leave her sight to go and look for the money when we tried to speak to her.

"At this point we decided to leave and went to our vehicle. As we were about going she ran towards us and asked the bike man to give her the papers that we were running away. I was shocked when she said so, I asked the bike man to give her the particulars which he did. Immediately she started raining abuses on us, when I told her that the insults were uncalled for, she said who am I to challenge her, just as she was shouting another male officer, one Inspector Erasmus Ikperinwa came and grab me on my trouser, cut my belt and started manhandling me before others around, but police and local vigilante joined in the beating. 

"They handcuffed me, and forced me to lay down on the floor, threatening that they'll throw me inside the cell where I will rot.

“The woman Corporal, Ebi stated that she is a lawyer that has been called to Bar and nothing will happen, you can call the IG and if it is case that you want, I will give you to the fullest." he narrated.

Continuing, Oghenekaro said, “When my colleague saw what was happening and tried to intervened, they attacked him with woods and gave him the same beating. I only saw him running towards the Area Commander's section in the station. After then, the woman Corporal identified as Ebi from Ughelli A' Division brought paper and they forced me to write statement and throw me inside cell.

"It was at this point that my colleague who ran to the Area Commander's section came with a police woman on the instructions of the A.O summoning us to the office to hear what has happened.

"We did not commit any crime other than trying to do a humanitarian service, so I don't see why we should be manhandle in such a way. I think it is high time the Inspector General and Delta State Police Command do something about the excesses of the police in Ughelli A Division. Assault on journalist by officers and vigilante attached to the division has been a routine, and must be stopped." He added.

Corroborating Oghenekaro, Unutame said, "We came to see how we can be of assistance to the bike man, because according to my colleague who called me to accompany him, the bike man told him he is new in Delta and has no one. When we got there we met the lady, she asked us to go and bring N50,000.

“We don't have that kind of money. And she was not ready to listen to any plea. At this point, we went back to our vehicle and wanted to go back, because my colleague said, he left his phones in the office that he wanted to call someone to do some clarifications.

"This was when one Erasmus Ikperinwa came on the scene and started manhandling my colleague. When I tried to intercede they attacked me. One of the vigilante took a two inch by two inch wood to hit me on my back.

“When I saw that they were ready to kill me, I ran to the Area Commander's office that was when the A. O, tried to intervene in the matter. We asked the bike man to give her the particulars. We then tried to explain to her that we're not running and besides we didn't commit any crime. She started raining all manner of curses, she was not ready to stop, we told her that the fact that she is a police officer was not a license to defame or dehumanize lawful citizens. 

“But for the timely intervention of the Ughelli Area Command, Admin Officer, A.O, we would have been dead or incarcerated by now.

Contacted, Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Bright Edafe said, “Good morning. The men have been identified and detained. Their trial starts this morning.”


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